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2007-02-13 22:11
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I'm putting my position battle posts on hold for a day seeing as there's some actual news to report today. Of course, pitchers and catchers reported yesterday, but the big news (relatively speaking, of course) was that the Yankees added a pitcher and will be short one catcher in Tampa.

Jersey boy Ron Villone signed a minor league deal with the Yankees yesterday. Given his strong performance through mid-August of last year (2.23 ERA through Aug. 16), which eventually made him one of Joe Torre's go-to relievers, his left-handedness, his ability to work multiple innings, and his overall veteran mojo, I expect he'll have to have an exceptionally poor spring not to make the roster. If Villone makes the team, he'll earn $2.5 million this season. That would leave just one undecided spot on the 25-man roster after the Yankees' three position battles are settled. That spot will go to one of the organization's young relievers, with righty Chris Britton being the most likely to travel north.

Also, Brian Cashman told the press yesterday that Raul Chavez, one of the non-roster invitees vying for the backup catcher spot, broke his left hand while playing winter ball and is still wearing a cast. That will likely end his chances of breaking camp as Jorge Posada's back-up (I've been unable to turn up an estimate for Chavez's return to action). I'll have a post up tomorrow about the remaining candidates for that job.

Meanwhile, check out Anthony McCarron's profile of righty first-base candidate Josh Phelps, as well as the more than 30 minutes of actual audio of Joe Torre and Brian Cashman on the first day of spring training over at Peter Abraham's LoHud blog.

Comments (103)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-02-14 05:08:30
1.   williamnyy23
Without sounding too cold, I think the Yankees got a lucky "break" with Raul Chavez's misfortune. Of course, the other options aren't much better, but Chavez' bat is historically bad.
2007-02-14 05:57:00
2.   jayd
I can't help but juxtapose Mariano's threat to wear another uniform with Bernie's declining the minor league contract and coming to Spring Training to try out for the team.

While much is made of locker room presence and good influence on the team, there is little that outsiders have to witness this until some sort of retrospective on a season past is in print. There is a time to talk and a time not to talk and the intelligent among us seem to know when that is. All that said I can't believe we have a team without Bernie.

First time I heard about Bernie and the minor league offer and having to make the team, I didn't feel good about it. Still don't. It's a mistake and I'm prepared to have the Good Old Bernie brand seared into my forehead on this. Especially when this gets translated into Minky on first or whoever the 12th pitcher is sitting out in the bullpen (Chris Britton?). You have to be shitting me. I never thought of myself as GM material but I'm rethinking that as I write.

Zambrano will either get his contract or be traded midseason if the cubbies are not in it (did I use a conditional clause there, I apologize). No where near the enthusiasm I have for Johan my Johan but I can see the Z Man in pinstripes, if the Mets don't do the honorable thing by him. Don't want to see him in a sawks outfit, so without Roger or Johan, he's our guy.

I'm no so sanguine about how badly the sawks suck this year. Wake had an off year last year and should be back to his normal 200 innings this year. Schwill will get 15 wins; Josh "Bring It ON" Beckett has had a year to think, which is about what the nitwit requires. I love the reports that Matsusucka is working on a two seamer in case his low 90's fastball doesn't work. Sawks are starting with a six man rotation in April May so the Big Nipper will feel at home. Try importing the Seibu Lions cheering section complete with trumpets and other noise makers for group cheers, Theo. I feel a choke coming on. Popplearm is going to be good, we know that.

So Scwill vs Moose is a draw; Wang over Becket any day; Wake over Igawa until we know better;Matsusucka draws the nod over Andy; PoppleArm draws the nod over whoever our #5 is because. Well, just because.

With Julian Tavarez anchoring middle relief and Pinero in the bullpen -- ahh now I feel OK. Sorry about that. Hope I didn't upset anyone. Sawks pitching does suck, doesn't it?

This all dramatically changes for us when the other shoe drops. For those who say Roger can stay in Houston, where do you draw your sense of calm? Is it something chemical?

I will not feel calm until
(1) Phil Hughes has gone 3 and 0 with 25 strikeouts in 21 and 2/3 innings OR
(2) Johan and Derek are posing for pictures

I will try to stop talking to myself as I walk to work in the morning when Roger comes on board.

2007-02-14 06:06:24
3.   williamnyy23
The audio clips at LoHud are a great addition. Here are a few takeaways:

1) Igawa is guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation for the entire year. Torre said that he heard Igawa has "fire in his belly", so even if he pitches like Ed Whitson, he'll keep his spot.

2) Torre seems married to the idea of going with 12 pitchers. Personally, I think that is overkill. I'd much rather commit only 11 spots to the staff and rotate the last one using a Scranton shuttle. Bruney, Britton, Rasner and Karstens could all be shuttled back and forth as needed. I don't see the need to keep 12 hands on deck, at least not until it is proven that the starters aren't going to give you length.

3) I think Cashman is treating the Bernie situation way too casually. I still think Bernie can contribute to the team as a right handed bat (some pinch hitting and maybe 20-30 games as a DH). Even if you think Bernie is completely done, however, he does deserve more respect. In his interview, Cashman basically said he hasn't spoken with Bernie and the fact that he isn't coming to camp indicates that he hasn't accepted the invitation. While Torre was more diplomatic, he too hasn't spoken to Bernie. While the Yankees don't "owe" Bernie anymore money or a roster spot, they do owe him "respect". I would have liked to hear Cashman extol Bernie's contributions and say something like "we really hope he'll come to camp and try to make the team". Instead, he gave the impression that he doesn't really care one way or the other.

2007-02-14 06:35:33
4.   Dan M
Please. The Yankees showed Bernie respect when they game his a one-year deal after 2005, when he was already done, and allowed him to get a standing O every time he came to the plate in the Bronx. It's time for Bernie hold up his end of the bargain.
2007-02-14 06:47:09
5.   Rich
Todd Pratt is going north with the team unless he is absolutely awful.

Cash is handling the Bernie and Rivera situations perfectly.

2007-02-14 06:52:18
6.   Zavo
It really bums me out that pitchers are catchers are reporting and the stories have thus far been:
- Bernie is upset with the Yankees
- Mo is upset with the Yankees over the treatment of Bernie and his contract
- Posada is upset with the Yankees over the treatment of Bernie and Mo
- Torre is a lame duck manager and will it affect the players...

Ugh! I have been looking forward to this and excited for the season to start, and this is the media coverage we get.

2007-02-14 06:55:07
7.   williamnyy23
Bernie's 2005 was an aberration. He had an OPS+ of 110 in 2004 and was at 101 last year (and was very useful in June, July and August, when the Yankees needed him most). He is still at least a major league average bat who can be even more productive if used mostly as a right hander. Also, the Yankees didn't do Bernie any favors by signing him last season. Any team that wasted ABs on Terence Long couldn't have been in a position to give out charity.

It both amuses and bothers me that so many Yankee fans are dismissing Bernie so easily. I just hope those same fans are not the ones who always complain about players not being loyal when they bolt for a better contract. Winning is clearly very important, but so is honoring your great players. Even if there is no room for Bernie, it would be nice if Cashman treated the situation with more diplomacy.

2007-02-14 06:59:26
8.   williamnyy23
6 If Mo and Posada aren't happy with Bernie's treatment, what does that tell you? The Red Sox have typically been the team that bungles relations with their aging superstars. It would be a shame if the Yankees follow the same path.
2007-02-14 07:01:59
9.   Dimelo
The reason why it's a good idea to carry 12 pitchers, me thinks, is because there's no one in the Yankee lineup whom you need to pinch-hit for. Ideallly. You can pinch hit for Mieknkdywizkthiz with a righty, but you'll never pinch hit for any of the other starters in the lineup. Carryng 12 pitchers makes sense to me. The times you will pinch hit are when Posada is being spelled, Melky is playing for Matsui, Abreu or Damon, or when ARod is playing and it's the 7th inning or later then you bring in Cairo for him.
2007-02-14 07:06:53
10.   Jim Dean
3 1. That is interesting and good to hear. Hopefully it remains true.

5 I don't see how it's anyone other than Pratt. And I thought they couldn't do worse than John Kelly Fasano. When they should be better about limiting Jorge's C time, they'll be driving him even harder.

7 I'm sure you'll find some Yankee fans around the web that would agree with you. But not here. IMHO you don't give a roster spot to someone who will bat maybe 100 times and who has no defensive abilities (Fat Papi took second on a ground ball to right). If they're going to carry a 5th "OF" they might as well carry Kevin Thompson who would come close to equaling the production from the rightside and can play any OF position while he can also steal a base or three if needed. Bernie could maybe find more work on another team, but not this one with 3 1B's. Last year was his swan song.

Thanks for the memories Bernie!

2007-02-14 07:08:16
11.   Yankee Fan In Boston
8 "The Red Sox have typically been the team that bungles relations with their aging superstars."

i've been getting a lot of flack from sox fans regarding the "disrespect" the yankees have allegedly shown mr. williams.

all i have to do is remind them that trot "bury me in my sox uni" nixon is playing for the indians this year and that his #7 was already given away... to jd drew.

i'm having mixed feelings about bernie. i see both sides of the argument and will miss his presence. i'm sure that eventually it will all be smoothed over, possibly even having the #51 be the first to be retired at the new stadium.

2007-02-14 07:22:25
12.   williamnyy23
10 You're missing the point. While I think there is room for Bernie, I can fully understand the argument against bringing him back. That doesn't mean, however, the Yankees as an organization couldn't have handled the situation better. All winter, Cashman kept putting the decision off, only to wind up extending a non-guaranteed invitation. Then, it turns out, neither Torre nor Cashman have actually spoken with Bernie about the situation. What's more, Cashman has made comments indicating a complete lack of interest in the matter.

Call me sentimental (to me baseball is a sentimental game that means a lot more than simply winning the World Series ever year), but I think Bernie deserves to be treated with the utmost respect, and that hasn't been the case.

2007-02-14 07:23:17
13.   Rich
8 It tells you that Mo and Po are letting sentiment cloud their thinking.
2007-02-14 07:26:57
14.   Sliced Bread
Cliff,

The Star Ledger had the Raul Chavez story a few weeks ago. I recall reading he's out for the season.

Bernie, ah, Bernie.

Tim Marchman offers a thoughtful take in the NY Sun today.

"For these reasons and more, what looks to be the end of Bernie Williams's career is a depressing note on which to start spring training."

"Don't hold anything against the Yankees; they've given Williams more years and more respect than any other team in baseball would have done for a similar player in similar circumstances."

"Williams was far too great in far too many ways for far too long for the end of his career to be anything but an occasion to celebrate that greatness."

Word.

2007-02-14 07:28:18
15.   williamnyy23
11 The Red Sox legacy of shame is long...from Lynn to Fisk to Boggs, Vaughn, Clemens, Nomar, Pedro and Damon, the Red Sox have a track record of cutting bait with their biggest stars (and usually before they are past their primes).
2007-02-14 07:29:14
16.   Shaun P
12 Respect is a two-way street. Perhaps neither Torre nor Cashman has spoken with Bernie, but has Bernie made any efforts to contact them?

In the meantime, the one insider I trust completely is Pete Abraham, and until Pete says this is a big deal, as far as I'm concerned, its not.

This all reminds me of the Mattingly situation back in '96. It blew over then with no problems, it will blow over now.

2007-02-14 07:34:47
17.   williamnyy23
16 According to Torre, they have played phone tag and each has had to cancel a get together. Why should the burden be on Bernie anyway. He DOES want to return. That much is clear. If Cashman and/or Torre don't want him back, they should have at least went out of their way to meet with him and explain the situation instead of extending a spring invite through his agent (and the media).
2007-02-14 07:36:18
18.   Rich
Bernie's problem is that he has no position in the field (and he's not good at pinch hitting). If Torre would have tried Bernie at 1B several years ago (he has long opposed moving players from the OF to the IF), Bernie might not have been in this predicament.
2007-02-14 07:36:32
19.   Count Zero
12 16

Shaun you stole the words right out of my mouth on the "two-way street" thing.

I can't say that Cash has been overly graceful in his handling of the matter. But then again, Bernie should have the good grace to walk away. He's been saying he would go to another team if the Yankees didn't want him since November -- he doesn't need the money and he's not going to get into the Hall with one more mediocre season as a DH in KC. He's handled it very badly himself.

2007-02-14 07:38:29
20.   Raf
6 Well, it's either that, or ARod; take your pick :)
2007-02-14 07:40:34
21.   Jim Dean
11 And don't forget to rub it in that Trot was the only one on the 2004 team that came up through the organization.

The Yanks this year will have four players from the 1996-00 dynasty with the team that came up through the organization (Jeter, Jorge, Mo, Pettitte). Add in the new kids (Melky, Wang, Cano, [Phillips]) and they're at 7-8 for the roster.

2007-02-14 07:42:29
22.   williamnyy23
19 That's odd logic. If Bernie wants to play, and another team is willing to give him a contract, why should he simply walk away? If playing for another team was truly his desire, he could have made the decision months ago (or even back in 1998). Bernie has been bending over backwards to stay with the team, so I have no idea how anyone could describe his conduct as lacking in loyalty.
2007-02-14 07:48:25
23.   vockins
2 "Big Nipper?" Come on man, it's not 1943. Cool it on that, please.
2007-02-14 07:52:27
24.   Sliced Bread
We all would have liked to see Bernie less in limbo, but by all indications Cashman was pretty straight forward with Bernie early in the offseason expressing that his chances for returning in '07 were not good.

Figure it would have taken winter injuries to at least two or three outfielders for Bernie to get any consideration. Nobody got hurt, thankfully, but here we are without Bernie.

If it was up to Torre, Bernie would be on his way to camp, but he's deferring to Cashman, and clearly #51 is not in Cash's plans.

It was kinda coldhearted of Cash to assign Bernie's Tampa locker to Veras without speaking to Bernie, who is still technically invited to camp. That was surprising to me, and disappointing.

The ship is sailing on without Bernie.

I just hope this quickly becomes less about blaming, and more about celebrating Bernie's many accomplishments and contributions as a great Yankee.

2007-02-14 07:55:08
25.   standuptriple
Of course Bernie wants to play. That's what aging players want. Who else in MLB will want him? A light hitting, sub-par defending OF who struggles against RHP. This isn't Little League. Not everyone gets to play. Since Bernie's skills are limited he needs to either accept the ST invite and prove his detractors wrong or shut up.
2007-02-14 07:57:26
26.   Jim Dean
24 See, I read Veras differently. They had a a packed clubhouse and had to put him somewhere. Rather than give prime real estate to someone more deserving, they left open that possibility that Bernie comes into camp (and Veras gets moved to a bathroom stall.)

More disconcerting to me was Pratt going next to Jorge rather than Nieves.

Wow, there's really nothing to talk about, huh?

Hopefully in a day or two it's everyone raving about Igawa and Hughes and Melky finding a power stroke.

2007-02-14 08:08:01
27.   Sliced Bread
At least they didn't assign Bernie's locker to Doug Out. Kick in the nuts that woulda been.
2007-02-14 08:15:38
28.   bp1
26 "Hopefully in a day or two it's everyone raving about Igawa and Hughes ..."

Yeah - and Pavano wow'ing everybody with his incredible "stuff" and imaculate control. Posada will be saying things like "He's got the best stuff in camp this year".

A-Rod will resume his practice of grabbing Jeter from behind and lifting him off the ground after every win, and Jeter will grin and bear it, all the while looking at the photog crew and saying "See? We really love each other.".

Today, Jorge gets a V-Day card from the Big Unit, bringing tears to his eyes. He text messages Pedro to see if the Pajamagram showed up on time. Joe got a box of Lindt chocolates from his pal Buddy Groom, an annual tradition that started after Buddy left the club a couple years ago.

:-)

No doubt NY is a hard place to play, what with all the media attention and constant scrutiny. Sometimes, it's a hard place to be a fan too. Some days I just tune out all the blah blah blah and watch the games. Man - I can't wait for the games to start.

2007-02-14 08:23:00
29.   Shaun P
27 You know its quiet in Yankeeland when:

-all we have to talk about at the Banter is who's assigned to which locker for spring training.

-Jim Dean has two posts that only tangentially refer to the BUC situation

AND

-A-Rod isn't the story of the day (hat tip to whoever pointed that out in yesterday's thread)

2007-02-14 08:26:57
30.   Jim Dean
29 To which I reply: Todd Pratt!?

WTF!?

2007-02-14 08:40:03
31.   Chyll Will
26 ...ditto...

This must have been a horrible winter for sports media for most of this crap to be piled up at the spring training door. It's as if they all lit some paper bags full of (what?) and left them outside Cashman's office. I remember Shaun P. saying it was gonna be a long winter, but who knew it would be this bad?

Something tells me either we're not even getting a quarter of the real story, or this is going to be a (TinyHyphen) long season. Methinks the players themselves need to stop reading the fishwrap and fungo their radios until March 1. I'll wait for Petey Abe, thanks.

2007-02-14 08:50:20
32.   Count Zero
22 Yes but that misses the point entirely -- how many ways can we say this to you: WE DON'T WANT HIM.

He eats up a slot that we have better use for and once he gets that slot, Joe will keep putting him in the OF over Melky. As has been pointed out numerous times, this is a guy who Papi stretches singles into doubles on. He's a lousy OFer and a mediocre hitter at this stage of his career. By your logic, we should just suck that up and put him on the 25 man as a reward for his previous efforts. I say no way to that.

The Yankees would love for him to retire now and give him the homage he deserves. Bernie doesn't want to retire. It's simple as that. If that's what Bernie wants, then he should go play somewhere as a backup DH -- but he shouldn't blame his career-ending season in Podunk on the Yankees' lack of respect. He's choosing the way he's going out.

2007-02-14 08:59:14
33.   Raf
23 You mean he wasn't talking about Al?
2007-02-14 09:00:48
34.   Cliff Corcoran
Since it doesn't look like I'd be interupting much, here's a follow up on my PECOTA conversation with Jim from yesterday's Fifth Starter post:

http://tinyurl.com/ye7znp

Meanwhile, 30, save it for tomorrow.

2007-02-14 09:02:47
35.   Chyll Will
26 "A-Rod will resume his practice of grabbing Jeter from behind and lifting him off the ground after every win, and Jeter will grin and bear it, all the while looking at the photog crew and saying "See? We really love each other."."

And if that photo crew is from Bravo, it will make John Amaechi's book the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls... or fishwrap if A-Rod's next book comes out soon.

2007-02-14 09:15:39
36.   Jim Dean
34 Thanks. Somone posted that here when you were in the editing room.

And I think that's what convinced me PECOTA can be very useful for hitters as that's a superb correlation. Indeed, all are very good.

For pitching, either they (or someone else) needs to greatly refine the approach or recognize that the projections will be decent but never great.

30 Just messing with Shaun but I do plan on sitting on my hands with that gasoline soaked rag in my mouth. Unless someone starts saying Pratt was as good as they were going to get. In which case I might throw sparks and hope one catches.

2007-02-14 09:24:46
37.   standuptriple
36 Andy Phillips should have learned how to play BUC in the off season.
2007-02-14 09:30:44
38.   jakewoods
I think everyone is over reacting here.

What is Mo supposed to say??? He doesnt have a contract after this yr and he obviously wants to continue to play.

He'd be committing bargaining suicide if he said the Yanks are the only team he'd play for.

2007-02-14 09:53:35
39.   Cliff Corcoran
BTW, 14 every reference to Chavez's broken hand I've seen says only that he won't be ready at the beginning of spring training. That's a far cry from being out all season. That said, Chavez is a largely worthless player, so all that really matters is that there's no real chance of him winning the Opening Day job. By the second week of the season everyone should have forgotten about him, much like Koyie Hill last year.
2007-02-14 10:18:25
40.   standuptriple
With all the Mo-leaving talk I can't help but think about when he was initially called to be the closer. If there had been as much media back then can you imagine the outcry? (Wetteland had an awesome '96 and even better '97-'98) Could they have Mo's replacement in the (quoting Jim Dean) "60 RHRP they have? I'm just sayin'. I firmly believe that Mo will come back, but you can't get too attached to these players. There has probably been more HOF's who spent their best years as Yankees and finished with another franchise than all other teams combined. It's the price of winning and it is, after all, a business. Everybody knows it. Don't feel sorry for guys that have earned upwards of $100M in pinstripes.
2007-02-14 10:34:36
41.   kylepetterson
Look: http://tinyurl.com/2e96nz
2007-02-14 10:46:30
42.   standuptriple
41 The Beyonce portion was disappointing. It had such promise.
2007-02-14 10:47:41
43.   Sliced Bread
39 Pretty sure someone reported Chavez out for the season, perhaps it was in the the 23 page "Jim Dean State of the Yankees BUC Report" (for subscribers only).

Whatevs.

Koyie Hill. Good times.

2007-02-14 10:50:58
44.   Jim Dean
40 Easy. If you look back at Mo's mL stats and his 1995 ALDS:

3G 1-0 5.3IP 3H 1BB 8K

and 1996 season:

61G 8-3 107.7IP 73H 34BB(!) 130K(!)

and post-season:

8G 1-0 14.3IP 10H 1R 3BB 10K

you'd realize that the outcry wouldn't have been great and wasn't. Indeed, I remember feeling very comfortable with the decision. Wettland consistently drove me nuts by putting people on base (especially the leadoff hitter) and then working around them. Mo's track record then is better than anything that the 63 RHRP pitchers currently sport. He fully arrived in 1996.

2007-02-14 10:52:28
45.   Jim Dean
43 It was news to me today. Besides, why would I care about Raul Chavez? Who is Raul Chavez?
2007-02-14 10:55:10
46.   Shaun P
Here's a nostalgic photo from 19 years ago! (hat tip to Dodger Thoughts):

http://tinyurl.com/yqnbnk

2007-02-14 10:57:38
47.   standuptriple
44 You're right. I did oversimplify, but I just get tired of every word analized to the nth degree. Mo's do not come around very often but it's short-sighted to expect him to perform at the level we've become accustomed to forever (which seems to be what a certain segment is basically suggesting with the "WRITE MO A BLANK CHECK FOR INFINITE YEARS" thought process).
2007-02-14 11:01:42
48.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I'm just curious; when did all the "loyalty" stuff start? One of the hallmarks of the Yankee teams of the '40s and '50s (a long time ago, I know) was a refusal to treat players as anything but players. Yes, some of that changed with free agency and the revamping of the negotiating process, but still. Logic should govern the contracts extended to players, not sentimentality. Bringing Bernie back is not logical.
2007-02-14 11:04:07
49.   yankz
This article from Heyman makes Cashman sound like Michael Corleone or something: http://tinyurl.com/3yng8l

(Minus the Bring Back Bernie part, it's a good read)

2007-02-14 11:08:04
50.   Jim Dean
47 Sorry, I'm very comfortable with giving Mo 15 million/year in one year contracts with revolving one year options. Let him gone on like that for as long as he wants or until his body shows he can't stay healthy anymore.

Mo's been underpaid for too long. Give that man his money, indeed.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-02-14 11:16:01
51.   williamnyy23
22 Who cares that Papi stretched a single into a double. One anecdote doesn't make an argument. If you look at it in purely statistical terms, Bernie probably doesn't belong on the team (unless Andy Phillips makes it, in which case he would). What you are ignoring, however, are intangible qualities that I think Bernie Williams has. Whether it be coming through in a big at bat or mentoring Melky Cabrera, Bernie can still play a valuable role. In many ways, he would be like the 2003-2004 Ruben Sierra. Another league average DH, Ruben was, by all accounts, a clubhouse asset who also happened to come through with some very big hits (i.e., 2003 World Series and 2004 ALDS). There will come a point in the season when the Yankees are going to go to the bench in a big spot and I'd much rather have it be Bernie than Phillips or DM.

If the Yankees clearly had a better option for the roster spot, or if the player wasn't the stature of Bernie, I'd understand the argument against him. The fact of the matter is they don't and he is. I realize that you and many others place no value in Bernie beyond his statistics, but I fall in the other camp. When you are dealing with the 25th man, there is room to consider intangibles.

2007-02-14 11:22:35
52.   Jim Dean
51 If they weren't going to carry three 1B's, there would be room for Bernie (though he's a terrible pinch hitter). Focus your frustration there. I know I do!
2007-02-14 11:35:53
53.   Eirias
"The Cubs aren't too worried Carlos Zambrano will carry through on his threat to walk after the season if he doesn't get a new deal by Opening Day."
-- Chicago Tribune

Excellent. VERY wise decision on the Cubs' part. Just keep thinking that, Jim Hendry.

2007-02-14 11:53:49
54.   dianagramr
OK .... Jay Jaffe is very much against Bernie getting a spot on the roster ....

... while Joe Sheehan would like to see him get a spot, over a 12th pitcher.

http://tinyurl.com/2sx3y6

In the meantime, here is some trivia ...

Many players have suited up for the Yankees and the Mets, and some others have donned the uniforms of both Chicago teams, but can you name the 3 players who have played for all four of these teams during their careers ...

Hints:
1) 1 pitcher, 2 non-pitchers
2) 1 played in the 60s, 1 in the 70s and 80s, 1 in the 90s/00s
3) The 90s/00s guy made 1 All-Star team
4) The 60s guy's only claim to fame was that he was once traded for Roger Maris
5) The 70s/80s guy was originally signed
by the Indians

Answer later ...

2007-02-14 12:03:07
55.   YankeeInMichigan
I wouldn't downplay the bullpen battle, especially since the losers of the 5th starter battle will all thrown into the mix. If Meat holds onto the 5th starter role, we'll have Rasner, Karstens, Sanchez, Hughes (doubtful), Bruney, Britton and Beam (a new B-Squad for Steve Goldman) battling it out for the last righty relief spot. I am assuming that if Villone makes it, Henn is DFA (he's out of options -- right?), since his main strength is his left-handedness.

Now if Villone hasn't changed since September, Henn has the inside track due to his lefthandedness and his roster status. But if Henn hasn't changed since the AFL, Joe made decide to go with another righty instead.

Another thing to consider is that, if April comes around and Meat isn't in the rotation, it may be because he has returned to his familiar perch on the DL. Torre will then get to select two names from the aforementioned list.

2007-02-14 12:03:58
56.   Cliff Corcoran
50 How on earth is Mo underpaid? He'll make $10.5 mil in 2007, same as the last two years. B.J. Ryan, an elite closer whom many agreed was overpaid by the Blue Jays last winter won't make that much in any year of his current contract and won't make $10 mil (his top yearly salary) until next year, the third year of his deal. Mo makes more than Trevor Hoffman (the closer most like him in the majors in terms of seniority, loyalty to club, and career accomplishments) and more than any other closer in baseball save for Billy Wagner, who also makes $10.5 per season and is very much in the group with Mo and Hoffman as one of the three elite veteran closers in the game.
2007-02-14 12:06:52
57.   Shaun P
51 If Bernie's intangibles are what you think makes him so valuable, then I'd say argue the Yanks should offer him a coaching position.

I think what is being missed here is that Bernie's spot hasn't been taken by the extra guy at first (sorry Jim). If you argue that it has, you're also arguing that Torre would treat Bernie as the 5th OF. There is NOTHING in Torre's track record to suggest he would actually do so. There is PLENTY in Torre's track record to suggest he would treat Bernie as the 4th OF, not as the 5th OF.

That's what this comes down to. Bernie's roster spot and role on the team has been taken by Melky Cabrera. End of story.

There is not room for both of them on the Yanks, at least not as long as Joe Torre is managing. Its an either/or proposition.

Given their current abilities, and the value each has to future Yankee teams, I will take Melky, please, and will gladly deposit funds to cover a ticket for "Bernie Williams Day at the Stadium".

2007-02-14 12:12:16
58.   YankeeInMichigan
54 Can I count Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile as one player?
2007-02-14 12:16:25
59.   williamnyy23
56 Mariano doesn't have a comp...he is in a class by himself among closers. No one should make as much or near to what he makes. He could easily have commanded more than what he has been paid, so I agree that he has been underpaid his whole career. Also, you simply can not forget those 113 post season innings pitched to a 0.80 ERA. That is more than past performance...it is indicative of a special ability that no other closer comes close to approximating. Without exaggerating, if the Yankees decided to levy a $5 surcharge on every ticket with all of the proceeds going straight to MO, I would gladly ante up. Not having to watch the 9th inning with my hands covering my face over these past 10+ seasons has been priceless.
2007-02-14 12:22:46
60.   Cliff Corcoran
Just verifying that Henn is indeed out of options. He was first added to the Yankees' 40-man in November 2003.
2007-02-14 12:23:42
61.   standuptriple
Can everybody just calm down about Mo? He's been well compensated in the past and barring major injury he'll get a fair amount (ie Yankee $) after the season. People are talking in circles here. This is not the same case as Bernie. Do not treat it as such.
2007-02-14 12:25:07
62.   williamnyy23
57 Bernie Williams would not be a bad bet to have a better offensive season than Cabrera in 2007, so in that sense, taking ABs from Cabrera wouldn't be a bad thing. Besides, Cabrera's main role on the team will be as a defensive replacement and spot starter. I don't believe Torre would use Bernie in that way, so he really isn't a threat to Melky

Anyway you slice it, the Yankees would better off with Bernie than a 12th pitcher or 1B platoon. Does anyone have BP access? What points does Sheehan make?

2007-02-14 12:27:39
63.   Jim Dean
56 Because he's Mo! He'll always be underpaid - he's priceless! :)

57 I agree with everything you say. He could be a 5th OF for this team, but he wouldn't be. Still, Kevin Thompson would be better there, but Bernie has guts full of history.

2007-02-14 12:30:47
64.   Shaun P
62 "Besides, Cabrera's main role on the team will be as a defensive replacement and spot starter. I don't believe Torre would use Bernie in that way, so he really isn't a threat to Melky."

All I'll say further is this -

When given the choice last year between playing Melky in CF to give Damon a rest, or playing Bernie in CF, Torre chose Bernie. EVERY. FREAKIN'. TIME - until that one game in September. I remember it, because the comments here all started with, "Wow, Melky actually gets to play CF today!?!?!"

2007-02-14 12:30:55
65.   dianagramr
62

excerpts follow ... sorry for the length

"The thing is, Williams may be exactly the kind of bench player the Yankees need. Right now, the team has left-handed batters starting in all three outfield spots, along with a left-handed-batting first baseman (Doug Mientkiewicz) and DH (Jason Giambi). For his career, Williams has always been a much more productive batter from the right side, showing considerably more power, and even in his decline phase has been threat from that side of the plate:

Other than '05, which was the worst year of his career across the board, Williams has been a very good hitter from the right side. Williams' problem is less his own skill set or his appropriateness for the roster, and more the curious way in which the Yankees have set themselves up. Joe Torre once again plans to go with 12 pitchers, and needs to carry a backup catcher, a backup infielder, and Rule 5 pick Josh Phelps. That last choice isn't a bad one; with so many left-handed batters, the Yankees will need to have some righty pop, and Phelps can still hit for power. I liked the pick at the time, and I like it now. I certainly like Phelps more than I do Andy Phillips, given that Phillips doesn't seem to be a true infielder any longer.

Melky Cabrera is the obvious choice for a fourth outfielder. The 22-year-old played very well last year and has a broad skill set that makes him a good pick to be a fourth outfielder. A switch-hitter, Cabrera didn't display a significant platoon split last season, and he has the legs to serve as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement for any of the thirtysomethings roaming the Bronx pasture.

On the other hand, the Yankees' starting outfielders are all wired, in most years, to play virtually every day. Cabrera could end up wasting his age-22 season—remember, he's still developing—getting six at-bats a week and performing as Bobby Abreu's legs. Cabrera is clearly a major-league-caliber starting outfielder, and there's a pretty good argument that turning him into a fourth outfielder on this team is doing him a disservice. That role could be filled about as capably by Williams—perhaps more capably if you weight the platoon advantages more highly than the young legs Cabrera provides—while allowing Cabrera to play every day for Colum…wow, this is weird…Scranton.

It seems strange to suggest that Bernie Williams deserves a roster spot over Melky Cabrera. Cabrera is the better player with the higher upside and the broader skill set. However, it may be best for everyone involved if Williams gets that roster spot because of his ability to mash left-handers on a team that's going to lose productivity against them at six lineup spots.

Of course, the best solution would have both of them on the roster and just 11 pitchers going north with them. For a manager like Torre, who rides his best relievers into the ground and ignores the rest, carrying seven guys in the bullpen is a complete waste of space. If Bernie Williams has a reasonable case to be on the roster ahead of Melky Cabrera, he has a terrific one to be one there ahead of T.J. Beam or Brian Bruney or whatever extra pitcher Torre is determined to keep around.

The 12th pitcher on the Yankee staff will not play as often, nor as well, nor will he fulfill as critical a role, as Bernie Williams will. That making the right decision for the roster would have other effects is a nice bonus.

2007-02-14 12:34:57
66.   standuptriple
62 I don't know where you're getting that from. Bernie's declining abilities make him dead weight and reduces roster flexability. And who volunteers to be the person the tell Bernie that he has to go to Scranton? Either way you look at it signing Bernie is a bad idea in baseball terms. Nobody is discounting his history with the team or his passion. He just doesn't bring much to the table anymore. That's fine for a 3rd tier organization that needs to sell tickets and something to hang a ptiful season on, but I'd much rather have a title run than give Bernie another encore.
2007-02-14 12:41:26
67.   Cliff Corcoran
65 The problem with that argument is that the lefty hitters in the Yankee lineup are:

Johnny Damon
Bobby Abreu
Jason Giambi
Hideki Matsui
Robinson Cano

Which of those guys would you send Bernie Williams, an awful pinch-hitter in an admitedly very small career sample, to the plate for?

Yeah, there's Mientkiewicz too, but the Yankees have already accounted for that by reserving a spot for Phillips/Phelps. Maybe Bernie's a better righty option than those guys (maybe), but you still need someone to play first base in the next half inning. So Bernie's only viable role is as a pinch-hitter for Minky who never plays the field. That is not worth even T.J. Beam's roster spot.

2007-02-14 12:43:15
68.   williamnyy23
64 The difference is that when Bernie spelled Damon in CF, Cabrera was already in the lineup playing LF. Several times last season Torre stated that Bernie was more comfortable in CF and Melky was more comfortable in LF, so switching them didn't make much sense. When Damon is given a rest this season, I'm sure Torre would play Cabrera over Williams, unless Paul Byrd or LaTroy Hawinks happens to be pitching. Otherwise, it should be Torre who is sent packing, not Bernie.
2007-02-14 12:55:07
69.   Sliced Bread
67 If, God forbid, Posada is injured or (preferable scenario) taking a day off, Bernie could bat for the backup catcher in a pinch.

He could bat for Cairo, Phillips/Phelps, Doug Out, too, anytime as far as I'm concerned.

Granted, not too many situations would call for Bernie, but I'd rather know he's on the bench than the 12th pitcher rotting in the bullpen.

2007-02-14 13:02:50
70.   williamnyy23
67 But, you are assuming all of those guys are going to play everyday. Bernie's role could be to DH 30 games (20x to rest Giambi and 10x when Giambi plays 1B), play another 5-10 games in the OF against a very tough lefty as well as pinch hit for Cabrera, Cairo, Minky, Phillips or the BUC in the right situations. For example, if it's the 6th inning against a tough lefty and Cairo is coming to the plate, Joe could use Bernie instead of sending up Cano.

Finally, what happens if the Yankees do suffer an injury (let's say to Giambi). Bernie's RH bat would come in very handy in a Melky/Matsu/Bernie tri-platoon between DH and LF. The possible scenarios in which Bernie would be useful are far more plentiful than those that warrant a 12th reliever.

2007-02-14 13:12:54
71.   Cliff Corcoran
70 But if those guys don't play on a given day then they can pinch hit for the men starting in their places if need be. When Giambi rests or plays 1B you put Melky in the OF and give one of the OF starters a half day off by DHing him.

Meanwhile, if you want another bat over a 12th reliever, I can certainly get behind that, but I'll take Kevin Thompson since he can run and play the field as well. Bernie is less than a one dimensional hitter at this stage since he can only hit from one side of the plate and can't play the field he's really a 1/3 dimensional player. To me there's absolutely no logic that supports carrying a player like that on the roster, I don't care who he is.

2007-02-14 13:26:03
72.   williamnyy23
70 Not necessarily...as in the Cairo/Cano example, Bernie as a RH might be preferable to Cano if the pitcher is a lefty. Also, Posada developed a pronounced LH/RH split last season, so he could also be in the same boat.

As for when Giambi sits, one would presume it would most likely be against a lefty. In that case, I'd rather have Bernie's RH bat at DH than Cabrera's bat in the OF. What's more, because the entire Yankee OF is left handed, most of the time they sit will provide excellent opportunities to take advantage of Bernie's strength.

As for Thompson, wouldn't he simply be another Cabrera? When would you ever need to use them both?

You may not agree with the rational, but there is definitely logic to support his inclusion on the roster. It's called being a role player...and even at his advanced age, Bernie is still a VERY good RH bat.

Finally, I'll close my Bernie with campaign with words from the captain. You can dismiss Bernie's popularity among his teammates, but I think doing so is a bit foolish:

"Bernie had a good year last year," Jeter said. "He wasn't expected to play much last season, and then because of injuries, he found himself in the lineup a lot. He did a great job. He did an outstanding job. I don't know what the numbers are. I don't know what the situations are. But I wish Bernie was here."

2007-02-14 13:28:50
73.   Rich
We all know, or should know, that if Bernie is on the roster, Torre is going to put him in CF at times. That's just wrong.
2007-02-14 13:34:11
74.   yankz
If Bernie bats for the BUC, who comes in to play C?
2007-02-14 13:58:44
75.   Cliff Corcoran
74 Exactly. If you have to use Jorge anyway, just let him hit.
2007-02-14 14:05:41
76.   Jim Dean
72 You have seen the numbers when Bernie pinch hits, right?

50 PA .205 AVG .360 OBP .282 SLG .642 OPS

That's a small sample, but nothing he did last year suggests his RH numbers translate to a pinch hitting role:

20 PA .125 AVG .300 OBP .125 SLG .425 OPS

Again, small sample but compare that to Cairo - easily the worst hitter on the team:

Career: 160 PA .268 .329 .373 .702

If anything, Cairo should be pinch hitting before Bernie. Unless you want to argue that Bernie's more likely to take a walk? Sorta defeats the purpose of hitting, right? Then what, you send in Cairo to run for him?

I'm not going to argue that Bernie can't play the OF anymore. If you don't see that, or that Torre will abuse him in that regard, there's little to say to convince you otherwise.

That leaves Bernie as a RH DH. Do I think he could manage fine there? Sure. But with no other skills (not pinch hitting, not defense, not running) that's a very, very limited "role" and that's a roster spot that would be better used by guys already in the system.

If they were carrying only extra 1B (and one that doesn't have clear RH/LH splits - see Sexson) then I'd think that's the only situation that RH DH Bernie could have a role - either because Giambi was in at 1B or because he was resting.

Still that doesn't preclude Torre abusing him. And last year he did. A lot.

But no one has dismissed "Bernie's popularity among his teammates". Even still that doesn't matter one bit in the department of winning ballgames.

2007-02-14 14:07:32
77.   fgasparini
Come on, people. I love Bernie, etc etc. But if the player under discussion were named "Jimmy Trenchley," and he was the same age as Bernie, with the same current skills and batting ability as Bernie, no one would argue that Trenchley should make the Yankees. You would argue that Kevin Thompson should make the team, or the Yankees should carry 13 pitchers and teach Bruney to catch, or something.

But it's not Jimmy Trenchley (LOVE that guy!), it's Bernie. So some people are getting damp over how great he used to be, and "respect."

What other business keeps employees whose contract is up and who no longer produce? Only badly run ones. Don't we all want the Yankees well run? Isn't that why we praise (or criticize) Cashman?

Give Bernie a gold watch and a party. Enough already.

And as for Mo and Jeter--wahhh. Let 'em get it out now. Aren't Mo and Jeter, you know, consummate professionals and all? I didn't realize they were so fragile that they'd go into a tailspin without Bernie. They'll sack up and play the game. That's what they get paid for.

2007-02-14 14:33:12
78.   YankeeInMichigan
I recall that, a few years ago, Reader's Digest had a special feature on male bonding. One article dealt with the relationship between Mo, Jeter, Posada and Bernie, who had been close friends since their minor league days. When I see the comments regarding Bernie from the other three, I realize that we are getting more than cold, professional judgement here.
2007-02-14 14:45:28
79.   Start Spreading the News
Joe Sheehan of the BaseballProspectus makes an argument for keeping Bernie -- that he would be a decent righthanded bat off the bench. He says it is silly for the yanks to carry 12 pitchers since Torre only trusts (and burns) a few relievers anyway. With 11 pitchers, there is room for Bernie.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5872

Also Baseballprospectus has also ranked the Yankee farm system: #1 for pitching and #18th for hitting. That makes us #4 overall.

Pretty good for what used be a depleted system.

2007-02-14 14:51:19
80.   Bama Yankee
78 Good point. I remember that article. It's more than just business to those guys, they are like family. I am sure they have a hard time imagining what it will be like without all four of them together. I know I am...

Found the article:
http://tinyurl.com/3yomou

2007-02-14 14:57:47
81.   standuptriple
78 Well, they aren't going to be together forever. It sucks that Bernie is the first to be shown the door.
2007-02-14 14:58:53
82.   Jim Dean
79 But then Sheehan is falling into the same trap - thinking that RH Bernie off the bench is the same as RH Bernie who starts. And while the evidence isn't solid, there's really no reason to think that.
2007-02-14 15:01:22
83.   fgasparini
80 And Reggie and Thurman hated each other...

I'm glad they like each other. Has no bearing on winning ball games.

2007-02-14 15:04:09
84.   Jim Dean
79 What I'd really want to know - how did the Unit trade affect those rankings? Since A-Gon is the only the only one in their top ten, I'd say: Not much for the hitting, and probably not at all for the pitching - i.e They'd still have the #1 organization for pitching.

Still rooting for you though Dorf!

2007-02-14 15:22:34
85.   Chyll Will
81 My only hope is that Cashman is penciling in a spot for Bernie at a coaching spot, if Bernie really wants to be around the Yanks after the rest of the league convinces him that he won't play. It would be very sad indeed to watch him peter out in SF, Tampa Bay or some other so-called opportunity.

How much of a draw would Bernie be outside of Yankee Stadium at this point in his career? The best thing to happen for Bernie, and by proxy his buddies he "grew up with" would be for him to stay on as a coach, especially after the current coaches may be moving on in subsequent (and extremely close) years. Maybe Mattingly or Sojo or even Willie could put that bug in his ear, it would be a fitting role given his intangibles. Hell, wouldn't it be fantastic if the core group were to eventually slide into coaching roles for the next generation of Yanks within the next few years without there being the media drama?

Of course, that depends on what direction Torre's going at year end. If he stays, it would be harder to bring in new apprentices, given that his penchant is to saddle up with the old guard. Were it not for Cashman's input, I'd bet he'd still have Maz as his sidebar and Mel calling the bullpen. No offense, but you have some winners from your best teams at the door looking for some work, why not groom them to take over after you leave? Or is Torre going to manage forever, I don't know...

2007-02-14 15:40:22
86.   Bama Yankee
83 Are you saying that a positive team chemistry is not helpful?

Maybe you could write a book on that topic and try to sell at some coaching clinics. You could use the title: "Chemistry: it's for the classroom, not the locker room" ;-)

Just kidding, I understand that some of us over value the friendship of the "big four". But it should not be totally discounted either. Those guys have been playing together (and counting on each other) their entire careers. I am sure that they would tell you that their close relationship has been helpful on the field and off.

2007-02-14 15:43:10
87.   Start Spreading the News
82 If there is no reason to think that, wouldn't the evidence then be solid? If the evidence is ambiguous, there is reason to question the assumption.

After all in 76, you are arguing that he can't pinch hit based on a sample size of 50 AB. Surely, this isn't evidence enough to think that he can't pinch hit?

I am not saying that we should bring on Bernie. But I certainly wouldn't dismiss him based on such paltry evidence.

2007-02-14 16:38:52
88.   Raf
54 Awesome trivia question!

I've got one of the 3 already; Tidrow

2007-02-14 16:58:54
89.   dianagramr
88

Correct! 1 down, 2 to go ...

2007-02-14 17:11:46
90.   Jim Dean
87 Poor wording on my part. There's some evidence to think he can't pinch hit. There's no evidence to suggest he can.

It's a paltry 50 PA, but 20 of those came last year. Can we really expect him to get even 40 PA (a full quarter of the games) as a pinch hitter in 2007.

So we're forced to go with the little evidence we have, rather than the none at all, to draw a conclusion. And whatever has caused him to be to such a poor pinch hitter, he's going to get very few opportunities to learn how to do it.

Me, I feel very comfortable saying he can't pinch hit.

2007-02-14 17:13:04
91.   Start Spreading the News
54 Charley Smith is the pitcher!
http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/smithch04.shtml
2007-02-14 17:43:24
92.   Chyll Will
54 Lance Johnson was the All-Star! (1996)
http://tinyurl.com/37r3ez
2007-02-14 18:27:51
93.   Shaun P
Look, its pretty clear Bernie cannot hit righty pitchers anymore - .261/.305/.383 vs RHP in '06, in (shudder) 287 ABs - more than twice as many ABs as he had vs LHP.

So, when is Bernie an asset with the bat? When he faces a lefty.

Now, go ahead and count up the number of lefty starters in the AL East (outside of NY).

Done yet? I count 3 - Kazmir, Bedard, and Chaucin. How many times can those guys possibly all face the Yanks this year? Three times each, tops? That's 9 games.

And the moment a righty reliever comes in, Bernie must be pinch hit for, because he can't hit righties.

BTW, to me, this is what limits Bernie's effectiveness as a pinch hitter, because unless you're talking about a closer, who never gets pulled unless he's in deep trouble - and the only lefty closer off the top of my head in the AL is BJ Ryan - all an opposing manager has to do to neutralize Bernie as a pinch hitter is to bring in a righty reliever.

So let's say Bernie gets 3 PAs a game before a reliever comes in. That's 27 PAs in those 9 games.

Now go through the rest of the AL and find other lefty starters. I count 7 (Santana, Lee, Sabathia, Buerhle, Rogers, Robertson, and Washburn). The Yanks might face those guys a combined 9 or 10 times total. That's another 27-30 PAs.

Let's be really charitable and say there are 90 PAs this year against lefty starting pitchers in which Bernie might be an asset.

Now, tell me with a straight face that:

(1) Torre won't ever let Bernie hit a righty pitcher (because Bernie can't hit righties)
(2) Torre won't ever let Bernie play the outfield (because Bernie can't play the OF)
(3) what Bernie contributes in those 90 PAs vs a lefty starter outweighs not just what the guy he's playing instead of would have done, but also outweighs the negative contributions Bernie will make when trying to hit righties and playing the field, because we all know Torre will have him hit righties and play the field.

I'm sorry, but there's no reason to keep Bernie around for 90 PAs vs lefty starters when the good he does in those will likely be neutralized, if not outweighed, by what he does with the 200 PAs Joe Torre will give him versus righty pitchers.

And again, every PA Bernie would get would be at least at Melky's expense, making the equation even worse.

2007-02-14 20:04:47
94.   OldYanksFan
77 With all the Bernie opinions here, fgas hit the nail on the head. If he wasn't Bernie, someone we love, he would be T.Long.

I remember when Donnie retired. That was really tough. But as a hitter, he was a shadow of his former self. He still was great on D, and still a GOOD player... but NOT Donnie Baseball anymore. His decision was a good one, painful as it was for everyone.

Willy Mays played too long and embarassed himself on the field. But at least Mays was chasing a big HR number. Its sad when a player hangs on to long.

Bernie has another passion and career in music. NO one called him. He is NOT an MLB caliber player any more.

It's time for Bernie to hang up the spikes.

2007-02-14 20:12:27
95.   joejoejoe
I understand it's desirable to construct a roster that provides optimal utility and value but I think we are slicing it a bit thin when it comes to the 25th roster spot. You could put an onion bagel on the roster as the 25th man and I don't think it would cost you so much as 1 game. Take a look at some decidedly suboptimal components of the 2006 Yankees roster and then tell me with a straight face that letting Bernie play Ruben Sierra is out of the question.

Miguel Cairo 222ABs OPS+ 59
Andy Phillips 246ABs OPS+ 77
Craig Wilson 104ABs OPS+ 60
Bubba Crosby 87ABs OPS+ 47
Kelly Stinnett 79ABs OPS+ 56
Sal Fasano 49ABs OPS+ 33
Aaron Small 27.7IP ERA+ 52
Sidney Ponson 16.3IP ERA+ 42

Torre rolled that garbage on the field for the equivalent of 5 games worth of pitching and 20 games worth of offense. Bernie Williams had an OPS+ of 101 in 2006. I understand teams are in the business of improving but freeing up the marginal value of whoever will replace Bernie is folly if that value only exists for Torre to squander it with choices like Cairo at 1B.

2007-02-14 20:57:17
96.   yankz
Two (or in this case, nine) wrongs don't make a right. Why not maximize your chances of winning? Isn't it worth it?
2007-02-14 21:47:16
97.   joejoejoe
96 I agree. But sometimes these arguments get treated like they are a math equation. I'm just showing that other variables are far worse than the Bernie variable - and they are back on the roster. Bernie isn't stupid. He can see the team brought back a subpar utility IF, a subpar 1B, and signed a mediocre veteran 1B.

Now the same management is saying there is no room for Bernie in their plans. Cairo and Mientkiewicz are both 32. Andy Phillips is a 29 year old career minor leaguer. It's not like the bench is being used for players with bright futures. The same 'steady veteran' garbage that Torre spews about Cairo somehow doesn't apply to Bernie? That's lame.

28% of Giambi's ABs came against lefties in '06. How does he stack up vs. Bernie?

Giambi 127AB .213/.329/.472
Bernie 133AB .323/.387/.549

The Yanks could have eaten 1/2 Giambi's contract - dealt him - signed Bernie to DH vs. lefties - used a rotation of Damon and Matsui vs. righties - found time for Melky - and used the savings to get somebody like Nomar Garciaparra to play 1B instead of Mientkiewicz.

2007-02-14 22:06:37
98.   yankz
All right, forget Torre's garbage, and listen to Cash's logic. Cairo, while awful (cue Jimmy D.), has more value than Bernie does. So do Scrabble, and Melky, and Kevin Thompson.

Re: the Giambi idea- you think Bernie is worth ~$10 million (I'm just guessing the amount they'd lose in dealing Giambi)? How would that be a savings? Also, Giambi said earlier this winter that he would not waive his no-trade clause.

2007-02-14 22:38:07
99.   joejoejoe
98 Of course Bernie isn't worth $10 million. He's worth what he made last year - $1.5. The $8.5M savings is what you get in the bargain plus any player coming back in the deal - likely as good or better than the Yanks got in the Sheffield deal. If you extrapolate out the ABs the Yankees paid Giambi between $4-5M to bat .213 vs. lefties. They could have gotten the same DH production from Bernie for 1/3 the price.

I realize that all of this is history now but the Yankees had to make about a half dozen roster decisions to get the point where there isn't even a roster spot for Bernie Williams. Bernie isn't owed anything but the Yankees sure do market tradition enough that the fans might prefer seeing Bernie go out on his own terms rather than in a roster squeeze forced on him by nobodies.

At the end of '07 it's a good bet that there will be 100 ABs between Phillips and Mientkiewicz batting on the wrong side of their good split so I don't feel bad defending nostalagia or 'guts' or 'chemistry' or whatever in the form of Bernie Williams. It has more value to me as a fan (and consumer of baseball as entertainment) then a fraction of a win-share or whatever difference it would make in the long run.

2007-02-14 22:39:49
100.   joejoejoe
99 They would have gotten better DH production from Bernie vs. lefties - I was wrong above when I said "the same".
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-02-15 01:07:16
101.   Chyll Will
Sorry joe cubed, but this has honestly been run into the ground the past few days. Bernie's production last year, which I'm almost certain he knew would be his curtain call, doesn't warrant a spot any more than Aaron Guiel's did, and he ended up in Japan right after the season. Just because Bernie thinks he should still be treated like a star outfielder doesn't mean that he is one anymore. By this type of logic, Babe Ruth would have been in right field right up until he died. Mantle would have stuck it out until Reggie got here. Paul O'Neill would still be out there, too. I think that Bernie looks at the Mets, particularly Julio Franco and says, "Damn, most of those guys are as old, if not older than me, and they get to start!" The only thing wrong with that is Franco and Easley are infielders, which Bernie's decidedly not. Moises Alou can throw and hit better than him. And when people were laughing when the pitcher threw a Bugs Bunny changeup? That was Bernie throwing the ball to second. What is he gonna do when he's up at bat? Charm the ball out the park? Here's Bernie at bat:

BERNIE: Hey ball, would you mind doing me a big-huge favor and flying over the right field fence this inning for me? You know I love you.

BOUNCES INTO DOUBLE-PLAY!!

What's annoying me about this is that we don't really know what's going on with Bernie except what we read about, and I'm always suspicious of pathological sportswriters. Now Jorge says Bernie's not sure if he'll come to Spring Training or not. My way of looking at it is this: if Bernie was a competitor, this would be just another competition to win. He's worked hard his whole career, don't tell me that now he figures he deserves to be pampered without proving that he can still compete. That's why this whole argument makes no sense at all.

If Bernie figures he can still do it, why would he turn down an option he knows he won't get anywhere else? It would be a whole lot different if he came in with a minor-league deal, tore it up in the spring and then was told he can't make it. He and all of us would have a reason to be indignant.

But this crap, and I believe it's mostly crap, is not worth arguing over. Bernie, we love you; if you know you can still do it then come in and compete under any circumstance, you know Joe will give you any and all opportunity to prove us wrong. Otherwise, !Vaya con Dios, we'll see you on el Dia de Bernabe Williams a Yankee Stadium!

2007-02-15 02:15:17
102.   joejoejoe
101 I'm done arguing about it for '07 but I don't think Bernie wants to be treated like a star - he wants to be treated like a 38 year old Ruben Sierra. Apparently that role no longer exists in the Cashman/Torre universe. It's been replaced by the three-headed first baseman.
2007-02-15 07:02:17
103.   OldYanksFan
98 Giambi lead the Yanks in OPS last year, and has been consistantly one of the teams most dangerous batters. Yes, he IS one dimensional, but still a great hitter, and at a much less important defensive position the CF.

I love Bernie too, but it seems like your logic is based around getting Bernie in the lineup rather then putting the best team on the field.

Cairo and Andy Phillips are both decent on defense, and play multiple positions. Getting someone 'like Nomar'?. Good idea. I'm sure if we could have (at a reasonable contract) we would have.

Once again, I propose that Cashman has a plan, that involves mid-season and the next few years. Some of his moves might not look ideal now, but they might be part of this plan. I'm sure if this was the Yankees LAST year playing baseball, we would have a different team. But we are playing next year, and the year after.

Lets say Cashman is targeting CZ and/or Santana (both would be $40+M). Thats BIG money. If this is the case, does trimmming payroll now make sense? What about Tex? Does that explain Scrabble? Will Alberto Gonzalez be our UIF by June? Is there (finally) a replacement for Posada in our near future?

The full impact of what is happening now won't be revealed for a while yet. In playing chess, you can only assess a move in context to the next anticipated 2 moves. It's fine to debate moves made in 2005. But it's not time to micromanage 2007 yet.

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